Warm Cretaceous Climates: High Atmospheric CO2 as a Plausible Mechanism

  1. E.T. Sundquist and
  2. W.S. Broecker
  1. Eric J. Barron and
  2. Warren M. Washington

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM032p0546

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO2: Natural Variations Archean to Present

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO2: Natural Variations Archean to Present

How to Cite

Barron, E. J. and Washington, W. M. (1985) Warm Cretaceous Climates: High Atmospheric CO2 as a Plausible Mechanism, in The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO2: Natural Variations Archean to Present (eds E.T. Sundquist and W.S. Broecker), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM032p0546

Author Information

  1. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado 80303

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1985

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900605

Online ISBN: 9781118664322

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Keywords:

  • Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry)—Congresses;
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide—Congresses;
  • Geological time—Congresses;
  • Paleothermometry—Congresses;
  • Geology, Stratigraphic—Congresses

Summary

Sensitivity experiments with a general circulation model of the atmosphere coupled to a simple ocean model are the basis for an investigation of whether changing geography is a sufficient mechanism to explain warm Cretaceous (≈100 Ma) climates or whether other mechanisms, such as a higher atmospheric CO2 concentration, are required. Although Cretaceous geography results in a substantial warming in comparison with the present day, the warming is insufficient to explain the geologic data. Several lines of evidence suggest that an estimated two to tenfold increase in CO2 with respect to present values is a plausible explanation of this problem. Higher values of CO2 result in additional climate problems. These model experiments have implications for geochemical models with climate-dependent weathering rates.